chapter  1
16 Pages

The Political and the Personal

This chapter explores how experiences of mature women students are shaped by factors that extend beyond their individual lives and which are political rather than merely personal. Education and social science subjects are the 'choice' of the majority of all mature students, but especially of mature women. Mature students, however, do not just bring their experience with them, they are their experience. To talk of their lives in terms of being 'bag and baggage' and 'externalities' reveals whose interests are paramount in shaping the studies. Moreover, the bag and baggage of higher education is rendered invisible. Higher education, according to critiques, will teach women only more about subordination, unless there are profound changes both within the institutions and within society. Women academics have been successful, at least to some extent, in introducing feminist perspectives into teaching in many countries, especially in the area of social sciences.